US 7739997 B2
A remote drain and filter arrangement for a portable engine-driven generator is disclosed that positions the oil filter and oil drain at a location outside the enclosure of the generator. The arrangement generally consists of an oil filter assembly and oil drain assembly. The oil filter assembly includes an oil filter adapter used to interface with the oil filter and is coupled to the engine via oil conduits. The oil drain assembly includes an oil drain conduit and a flow control device that allows the oil to be drained from a location outside of the enclosure of the generator. A pump can be used to allow for sufficiently longer oil conduits. The invention is retrofittable to current engine-driven generators and can also be incorporated into future designs.
1. A portable engine-driven generator, comprising:
an electrical power generator;
an engine coupled to the electrical power generator to drive the electrical power generator to produce electric power;
an enclosure surrounding both the engine and electrical power generator in an interior volume enclosed by an outer wall;
an oil filter adapter external to the enclosure, wherein the oil filter adapter comprises a filter interface configured to support an engine oil filter in a filter region external to the enclosure, and the outer wall separates the filter region from the interior volume;
oil filter conduits extending between the oil filter adapter and the engine; and
an oil drain conduit extending between an engine oil drain of the engine and an external drain disposed in a drain region external to the enclosure, and the outer wall separates the drain region from the interior volume.
2. The portable engine-driven generator of
3. The portable engine-driven generator of
4. The portable engine-driven generator of
5. The portable engine-driven generator of
6. The portable engine-driven generator of
7. The portable engine-driven generator of
8. The portable engine-driven generator of
9. The portable engine-driven generator of
10. The portable engine-driven generator of
11. A portable engine-driven welder, comprising:
an electric power generator;
an engine coupled to the electrical power generator to drive the electrical power generator to produce electric power;
a welding control system configured to regulate the electric power to produce a welding power;
an enclosure surrounding both the engine and electrical power generator in an interior volume enclosed by an outer wall; and
an external oil service retrofit kit configured to position an oil service region external to the enclosure, the retrofit kit comprising:
an external service oil filter adapter configured to support an engine oil filter in a filter region external to the enclosure, and the outer wall separates the filter region from the interior volume;
oil filter conduits configured to extend through the outer wall between the external service oil filter adapter and the engine; and
an oil drain conduit configured to extend through the outer wall from an engine oil drain of the engine to an external drain at a drain region external to the enclosure, and the outer wall separates the drain region from the interior volume.
12. The portable engine-driven welder of
13. The portable engine-driven welder of
14. The portable engine-driven welder of
15. The portable engine-driven welder of
16. The portable engine-driven welder of
17. The portable engine-driven welder of
The invention relates generally to the field of portable engine-driven generators. More specifically, the inventions relates to a remote drain and filter arrangement that is used for an engine-driven generator or an engine-driven welder.
Portable engine-driven generators are commonly used to provide electrical power in locations where conventional electrical power is not readily available. Both gasoline and diesel engines are used to drive such generators, and the power produced is typically either 120 VAC or 240 VAC. One specific generator application is for welding processes and these units are commonly known as portable engine-driven welders. These units include a control system to regulate the power produced by the generator thereby making it suitable for an arc welding operation. Typical welding operations for which these units are intended include stick electrode welding, MIG welding, TIG welding, or plasma torch cutting.
One issue with engine-driven generators and engine-driven welders relates to their weight and the positioning of the unit in order to perform routine oil changes and other engine maintenance. These units are relatively heavy, some weighing over 500 pounds, and are typically mounted in a truck bed or other motor vehicle making them more transportable. Given that space is limited in these vehicles, the unit usually is placed adjacent to the cab of the vehicle and/or surrounded by permanently mounted tool boxes or other built-in structures of the vehicle. Moreover, the engine and generator are typically fully enclosed by an enclosure and servicing the engine becomes difficult because direct access is at best very limited. Such systems are fully enclosed for several reasons, such as to protect the engine and generator form dust, debris, and rough handling. Also, the enclosure reduces noise and helps to cool the engine by preventing hot air recirculation when the welder is placed in service. All of these benefits lead to longer component and engine life. In short, the benefits provided by full enclosure far outweigh the current inconveniencies of servicing the engine in these space constrained environments.
However, engine maintenance is critical to engine performance and is a task that must be performed at regular intervals. Given the required regularity of the engine maintenance, the current inconveniencies of performing engine service can become a major issue for the user. Currently, access to the serviceable components is often gained through a removable panel located in a side wall of the enclosure. As alluded to above, the location of this panel is often blocked by nearby tool boxes or other structures. In this situation, the user is required to relocate or reposition the unit in order to gain access to the serviceable components via the removable panel. Given the weight of the unit, this can be a very time consuming and arduous task. While certain facilities have been provided by the ability to relocate oil filter and drain locations within the enclosure, even these do not alleviate the need to access the interior via panels and the like.
Thus, there is a need for quickly and easily accessing serviceable engine components in portable generators and welders without requiring relocation or repositioning of the unit. This would not only save time and money but would have a secondary effect of promoting regular maintenance by reducing the difficulty in performing the service. Furthermore, it would be advantageous if the serviceable components could be positioned so that they did not increase the space or volume occupied by the unit. Finally, it would be very beneficial to provide such access in a kit that is retrofittable to current engine-driven welders and engine-driven generators.
The current invention offers a unique, cost effective, and time saving solution to the inconveniencies created in servicing engine-driven generators and engine-driven welders. The invention generally consists of a kit that allows the oil filter to be positioned outside the enclosure of the generator. The kit includes an oil filter adapter that is used to interface with the oil filter and is coupled to the engine via oil conduits. The oil conduits allow the engine oil to be circulated between the engine and the filter. The kit further includes an oil drain conduit allowing the oil to be drained from a location outside of the enclosure. The kit can be mounted to the external portion of the enclosure or to a support surface on a vehicle. Furthermore, the space required to implement the engine driven welder can be reduced by mounting the oil adapter and oil drain conduit directly to the vehicle. The user can increase the functionality of the kit by incorporating a pump between the filter and engine, where desired.
Thus, the kit allows for tremendous flexibility in positioning these serviceable components, thereby allowing the user to choose the optimum configuration for their given situation. Furthermore, the current invention completely eliminates the need for the user to relocate or reposition the unit when performing an oil change. Thus, maintaining the engine is no longer a difficult and time consuming task, which leads to a secondary benefit of promoting regular engine maintenance. The current invention is completely retrofittable so that the user is not required to purchase a new generator or welder to enjoy the benefits offered by the current invention. Finally, the current invention can be incorporated into future designs and provided at the time of manufacturing.
These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the current invention will become better understood when the following detailed description is read with reference to the accompanying drawings in which like characters represent like parts throughout the drawings, wherein:
Turning now to the drawings,
A control system regulates the electrical power supplied by the generator and allows for it to be used for welding process. The front panel has maintenance displays 27 and range controls 28 that allow a user to interact with the control system. The range controls allow the user to select the proper regulated energy output to conduct a range of arc welding processes, such as stick electrode welding, MIG welding, TIG welding, or power generation. The maintenance displays allow the control system to alert the user when the engine needs servicing and/or an oil change is required.
The engine oil filter 30 mounts directly to the engine and is contained within the enclosure the current invention is not used. The oil drain 32 is located in close proximity to the oil filter and is also contained within the enclosure. Both the oil filter and oil drain are accessible via a removable panel 34 located in the right side of the enclosure. As will be discussed in more detail below, access to this panel and the engine located inside the enclosure can be difficult when the welder is mounted in a manner such that this panel is not accessible, or the internal components of the enclosure are difficult to access even if the panel can be removed or displaced. In this instance, the user is given the laborious task of repositioning and relocating the unit in order to service the engine.
In a typical oil service procedure, the oil filter is replaced during an oil change, and the oil itself is drained and replaced. Thus, the current invention also provides the added benefit of a remote drain. The oil drain assembly 40 can be positioned in the same manner as the oil filter adapter and includes a barbed fitting 60, conduit clamp 62, oil drain conduit 64, and a flow control device 65. The flow control device will generally include a small, manual shut off valve or cock, although a simple plug or cap may serve in certain applications. The barbed fitting couples the oil drain conduit to the oil engine drain 32. The oil drain conduit is secured to the barbed fitting via the conduit clamp. The flow control device is located on the opposite end of the oil drain conduit and allows the user to drain the oil from a location outside of the enclosure. The oil drain conduit can be mounted to the external portion of the enclosure via a fastener 66 and mounting bracket 67. The oil drain conduit is routed to the mounting bracket via the base panel 58 located in right side of the enclosure. As discussed above, this mounting and routing configuration is not the only possible configuration and the current invention allows great flexibility in allowing the user to customize the layout to their specific needs.
As discussed, the current invention is not functionally limited to the exact configurations illustrated. Instead, these figures only illustrate a few of the many possible configurations and help to demonstrate the tremendous flexibility of the current invention. The figures functionally illustrate a common situation where access to the engine is limited and show a few examples on how the current invention can be implemented to allow for routine engine maintenance without relocating or repositioning the unit. The result is a significant savings in time and money by making this maintenance process more efficient. Furthermore, the current invention makes performing these routine oil changes very simple, which will encourage regular maintenance, thereby prolonging engine life. Finally, the flexibility of the current invention allows for the oil filter and oil drain to be positioned in a location that is most space efficient for the user. Thus, not only does the current invention reduce the time and effort required to perform engine maintenance, but also allows the user to take full advantage of limited space constraints by positioning serviceable elements in what was previously non-functional space. In addition, the functionality of the current invention is not limited to oil filters and oil drains, but can used for a number of maintenance components, such as air or gasoline filters by using a similar technique to locate these components outside of the enclosure.
While only certain features of the invention have been illustrated and described herein, many modifications and changes will occur to those skilled in the art. It is, therefore, to be understood that the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications and changes as fall within the true spirit of the invention.